On youth, complexity and an expanding universe

April 16, 2009

Perhaps people reading my posts at CE’s guest blog now think that I have an obsession with environment and such. That I am a single issue person. Well, I’m not. If I have one shortcoming (except lazyness, impatience, lack of manners, and being bored way too soon) it’s that I am interested in way too many subjects and am expert at none. Other side of the medal is that I read and think all the time. Because I know I don’t know shit.

One of the remarkable things about discovering the concept of complexity through discovering Dave Snowdens work, is that I now understand way better why I can’t know, let alone understand, everything. Understanding has been a huge issue for me from about my 2th year on this earth. Since five or six I read like crazy. Hoping I would start to understand how the world is, how and why people are as they are, what matters and why. What the rules are.

I am fifty now, and I haven’t figured it out. Still remember a conversation with my mother, we were sitting in a car. I – eight or nine – asked: how can it be that the universe expands, but never arrives? How can infinity grow if it’s already infinite? She was silent for a while, steering the car, then said: I don’t know. And after a some more time: You know, you get used to it. To not understanding.

Then, her answer upset me tremendously. I thought: how can grown-up people live like this, willingly accepting that they don’t mind things that are so very important? Later I started to understand and appreciate her answer, and to love her for her honesty. What she said was real. To a certain extent we all live like this, blind to what’s important because of other, more pressing matters.

Returning to pressing matters and the subject of my posts: Sir David Attenborough – remember his wonderful BBC nature series? – has become a sponsor of Optimum Population Trust.

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About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


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